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Suriya karna

Tamil Superstar Suriya To Play Karna In Rakeysh Mehra’s Rs 500 Crore Epic Extravaganza

It is happening…ancient Indian ethos and its myriad mythologies are mined for breathtaking cinema, to combine scale, complex story plots, heroism, venality and religious fervour into spectacular cinematic art. Most would agree that after Lord Rama, Karna is the most recalled warrior hero. Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has zeroed in on this epic character, Karna and plans to create a pan India screen extravaganza at a cost of 500 crore. Popular Tamil hero Suriya has been signed for the same. Suriya is now striding the pan India scene with his about to release Kanguva, another period drama. Sudha Kongara of the Surarai Pottru fame is directing Suriya in Purananuru.. Suriya’s leading lady in Karna is late Sridevi’s daughter Janhavi Kapoor, a choice that is bound to add value to this Kapoor who is yet to snag that super hit status her mother repeated in many films. Karna is a character with a gold mine potential to explore his many facets …a first born whose mother Kunti does not acknowledge him, his five Pandava brothers who are unaware of Karna’s blood bond, and a warrior who stands by Duryodhan for all the wrong life decisions, and how Lord Krishna cajoles him to part with his life guarding Kavach appealing to Karna’s legendary largesse. Even the most cynical audience is bound to be moved by his charisma. A hero like Karna and a talent like Suriya’s ….waiting to happen. POWERED BY : IDFC FIRST BANK
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Stalin Leaves Nothing To Chance, Election Manifesto Planned As Precisely As A Rocket Launch

Coming to power after a 10-year hiatus has taught the DMK about unique, multiple dimensions of appealing to the electorate. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has imprinted his distinctive stamp on the DMK’s playbook. So before finalising the party’s election manifesto, teams led by party leaders have undertaken surveys to find out what people want in the DMK manifesto. Party supremo MK Stalin is dinning into his party generals, “Fixing your targets firmly is the first step to victory”. Kanimozhi’s team has already completed the survey. What is overtly and covertly evident is the master stroke of involving her…leaving no room for doubt …backroom gripe is ruled out. Her team has surveyed 20 districts, 10,000 direct responders, received 4000 responses, apart from harvesting suggestions and demands from 18,000 phone calls and social media responses. February 25 is the deadline for such suggestions to reach the DMK citadel, Arivalayam. The dovetailing of the TN budget presented by Thangam Thennarasu is an amazing alchemy of populist schemes poured into a shiny chalice of Tamil rhetoric …it covers education, healthcare, roads improvement…in fact it showcases the Ram Rajya golden orb in a Dravidian gift wrap.  And Stalin’s Assembly motivation speech left its imprint. “A budget in Tamil is Nidhi arikkai…but we have made it a Needhi Arikkai. Social justice to all, with speed in implementation. TN is second in GDP with a growth rate of 8.19%.” The bugle has sounded …it’s left for the cadres and leaders to drum up a resounding victory.
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Health Apart, Is Stalin Stressed By Multiple Election Issues?

Whatever the criticism one may have of politicians when he/she is in power, the kind of hard stressful work that he/she is subject to at election time is staggering. But somehow, somewhere politicians find a fount of adrenaline driven energy and determination to cope. Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has not shied away from giving his best shot, despite the talk that his health is not robust. Just the other day, when the Assembly was in session, he left early, quickly followed by son Udhayanidhi, more MLA’s and some ministers. The leader of the Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami shrewdly noted the vacant treasury benches and chose to make it question hour, shooting a volley of questions and expecting responses, even as the house resounded with applause for his grandstanding. Stalin heard about this, and the Whip was told in no uncertain terms that the forthcoming Budget Session would not tolerate such laxity. But what Stalin is more challenged by is the contentious seat sharing issue for Lok Sabha. There are instances of his trying to welcome alliance hoppers but his party influencers are busy giving him advice about why Congress should not be given nine seats but only 5. They trot out the UP case study. And with TN Congress chief KS Azhagiri wanting a RS seat, the math just got tricky for Stalin. The influencers further say, the Congress last won Arni, Krishnagiri,Tiruchy,Karur and Sivaganga. As the party in power we could contest in four of these. Stalin indeed has to do real tightrope walking.
Article 370

‘Article 370’: Cinematic Art Or Propaganda Hype?

Two of Bollywoods beautiful and talented actors, Yami Gautam Dhar and Priyamani are unravelling the story of Article 370, which is set to hit screens on February 23.  The talk about this film, directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale, is hard to ignore, even as comparisons with The Kashmir Files, Kerala Story and Emergency fly thick and fast. It is the timing of its release that has set expectations high and may be controversial. With the election machinery already rolling in full force, a powerful medium like cinema focusing on the abrogation of Article 370 is bound to land with a sonic thud. For honing its propaganda skills in multiple ways, the BJP is often complimented for its talent to use social media and its communication bag of tricks. But what the Dravidian cavalry taught about using cinema as the quickest, and most effective touchpoint with the electorate is a many layered case study. Tamil Nadu chief ministers M Karunanidhi and MGR used this powerful medium to totally transform an electorate under the spell of Sanskritised ideology. The Dravidian evolution is parallel to its cinematic evolution as an ideal propaganda machine. But it must be said that these two powerful leaders did not stir up religious clashes. Producer Aditya Dhar at the press meet when questioned about the timing of his film as it helps the BJP said, “To win the elections, we don’t need films like mine. The Ram Mandir took shape after a 100 years’ wait. It is now a fait accompli”.
JP Nadda_001

Of Revolving Doors And Fleeing AIADMK Senior Leaders

Electoral alliance plans are evolving fast, even as party doors are kept revolving.  So when the Home Minister Amit Shah in his interview to ‘Daily Thanthi’ said, “Our doors are open for anyone to come and join us”.  D Jayakumar, AIADMK heavyweight reacted, “BJP doors may be open, but we have shut the doors for BJP, put a big lock too”. Perhaps defying him, 15 former AIADMK legislators and former MP walked in to the BJP, and were given a warm welcome by BJP president JP Nadda, Union ministers Rajeev Chandrasekhar, L Murugan and Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai. With so many AIADMK leaders crossing over to BJP where was AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS)? EPS it is learnt had just worshipped at the Bhadra Kaali Amman temple when the media encircled him to get his views. His bland response was “I have not seen the newspapers this morning. I can clarify only after reading the news”. Was EPS trying hard to save his face? Or was he really unaware of his brood’s cross over? Even as a former Congress leader’s  son, well respected and considered a quiet achiever was said to be negotiating a truce and face saving retreat, things were playing out without a script. The modus operandi advised by brokering political strategists ….”Sap bhi mare aur lathi bhi na toote”.
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Photo : @actorvijay

Superstar Vijay’s Political Party’s Name Confuses And Confounds Tamil Nadu

Hot on the heels of his crack of dawn powwow with his party lieutenants, Tamil film superstar Vijay finally announced the name of his party — Tamilaga Vetri Kazhagam (Vetri is Tamil for Vijay). As expected it was received with oodles of enthusiasm from his devoted fans and open criticisms from other political outfits. AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami says Vijay is being backed by BJP. Superstar Vijay is following the path already trekked by MGR, J Jayalalithaa, Vijayakanth, Sarathkumar and Kamal Haasan. Looks like politics is going to be his full time job as he will give up acting after his 69th film is released. But, one thing is clear: his party TVK is not contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls; they will be contesting only the 2026 Assembly elections in TN. Well known film director Ameer has tried to decode Vijay’s strategy. “No one would have raised questions if he had announced it after the Lok Sabha elections. He must be the only aspirant who neither met the people nor the media. Whoever advised him has misled him.” The claim that his official astrologer chose the auspicious date (Feb 2) and time for announcing his grand entry made for more spice. The addendum …though Vijay is a Christian by faith, he believes in astrology and all the attendant superstitions of the land. An experienced commentator demystifies. Vijay has cannily entered the political arena and set the cat among the pigeons. Right now Vijay is a Ghilli –a blockbuster he starred in 2004.
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Post Ayodhya, Are South Filmmakers Betting Big On Mythology?

Contemporary South cinema is now exploring an age old theme with the newest of technology and marketing missiles. Kollywood, Tollywood and Kannada cinemas are cannily exploiting ancient mythology themes with gusto. On Makar Sankranti day, Telugu film director Prasanth Varma’s Hanu Man was released and the promo promised that every Rs 5 from a ticket would be contributed to the Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya. And he was not wrong with his brand equity math – he donated Rs 2.6 crore to Sri Ram Mandir. Hot on the heels of Hanu Man, Varma proclaimed Jai Hanuman, the sequel/prequel on January 22 with a devotional pooja organised at the Hyderabad Hanuman mandir. Varma’s soon to be shot script features a fantasy world of superhuman beings and incidents from the Aadi Kaavyam with never before explored events to be woven into the film. Kannada filmmaker Suresh Arts Productions announced Sri Rama, Jai Hanuman on the same Prana Prathistha day, planning a unique story telling in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English. Ramanand Sagar had set a benchmark viewership record when his Ramayan made television history in 1987-88, when traffic countrywide would come to a standstill every Sunday.  A new age revival of Hindu mythology and stories that have stood the test of centuries is about to happen. The cinema factory has an instinct for super profitable panorama. Are you ready to be enchanted and entranced?
Vijay Thalapathy

Is Tamil Superstar Vijay Getting Ready To Take A Political Plunge?

On January 25, the 49-year old Tamil superstar Vijay who has been nursing political ambition secretly called about 150 party apparatchiks to his Paniyur party office in Chennai at 5.30 am. This early morning exercise was done to stave off media glare and also collect affidavit signatures to register his party with the Election Commission of India. Sources say, his loyal soldiers arrived quietly from districts the previous night, it was followed by brainstorming over possible party names.  The fans-cum-party cadres were treated to a rousing motivational speech by Vijay also known as Thalapathy.  Even with so much beehive activity, Vijay and his fans converted to party cadres ensured no info leaks to the media. So when asked for Kazhagam (party) name all that the media scouts got …”you have it….Kazhagam”. Ok the teaser trailer is out. Now for the main feature! Is Vijay yet another Tamil film actor wanting to cash in on his filmi star status?  Earlier, it was MGR, Jayalalithaa who became TN chief ministers. Is Vijay crowding the already crowded political scene or are his ground preparations and calculations aimed at making a real difference to the people of Tamil Nadu who have invested their faith in him? The cat will be out of the bag soon. Vijay is the highest paid actor who has played lead roles in 67 films and has significant fan following. In X it is nearly 5 million. POWERED BY: ICICI LOMBARD
thangalam revolver maharaja

Netflix Flexes Movie Muscle With Surfeit Of New Releases For 2024

Recently, Netflix disclosed its first ever entertainment audit with most details ever for any streaming service. It just didn’t happen because the service suddenly felt it had to share its eyeballs count and trail with viewers and other stakeholders. The trigger was the conflict that erupted between Hollywood labour unions and content originators who demanded more compensation. Netflix decided to go public with what its viewers watched and wanted, which succeeded most and which global entertainment industry could shore up Netflix growth. 55%accounted for original shows and 45% for other producers who used the platform. The Night Manager was voted the most watched show. No desi show made the list. Sure enough Netflix has now spiced up its act in more ways– the line-up of new Tamil and Telugu movies has made its Indian viewers gasp. Imagine the feverish anticipation for Magizh Thirumeni’s Vidaa Muyarchi with Ajith in your sitting room, Director S Shankar unravelling Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2, Director Pa. Ranjith called the thrill shots for Vikram’s spectacular gold rush saga Thangalan, Sivakarthikeyan SK 21, and that Johnny come lately Vijay Sethupathi in Maharaja. The female showstoppers were not far behind. Keerti Suresh is slated to come into your homes as Dream Warrior and Revolver. Even as Bollywood tanked, Tamil and Telugu films were on a roll. Now with 2023 a comeback year for Bollywood, Tamil and Telugu story writers and producers are all set to cater to more esoteric choices.
Mani kamal

Will Mani Ratnam’s ‘Thug Life’ Be The Father Of Gangster Movies?

Fans are already panting and chomping at the bit in anticipation of Mani Ratnam’s Thug Life, Kamal Haasan’s 234th movie produced by Rajkamal Films and Red Giant movies with AR Rahman scoring the music. Of course talk immediately veers to the Hollywood Godfathers of Gangster films, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Sergio Leone, who set benchmarks for edge of the seat classics. Mani Rathnam is no novice, his classics Nayakan and Dalapathi are still etched in film buff’s memories. Fresh after the super hit two part Ponniyin Selvan, Rathnam is chiselling Thug Life frame by frame, directing some of the most talented south stars — Kamal, Jeyam Ravi, Dulquer Salman and Trisha. Kollywood has created a promising bag of tricks to keep fans asking for more till the release of the film. Apart from cannily posted tit bits on social media, the trends for pre-marketing promos are getting more sophisticated. Thug Life trackers are getting to savour goodies like glimpse videos which post new additions to the already formidable cast. Imagine the anticipation for Joju George fans (his recent multi-dimensional films Puli Mada, Joseph and Iratta have set the screens on fire) with his glimpse video for Thug Life. Gautham Karthik is also in the lineup. But the actor who really hit the target is Aishwarya Lekshmi, the Ponniyin Selvan underplayed glamorous siren. Kamal and Mani Rathnam, the conniving cousins are about to make gangster film history with Thug Life.
12th fail

‘12th Fail’ Could Be A Riveting Case Study For IAS Training At Mussoorie

2023 was definitely the Year of the Phoenix for Bollywood. From the troughs of box office damp squibs, despair and taunts about learning from south filmmakers, Bollywood regained its respectability, and above all bankability. Movies like Jawan, Pathan, Gadhar 2 and Animal brought cheer to stakeholders with the box office jingling. Even as established stars were basking in the glory, quietly, almost sneakily a less known hero, Vikrant Massey vaulted onto the screen with 12th Fail! This just about Rs 20 crore budget film has set the audience agog, amazed and astonished. Not for impossible stunts and a fantasy formula but a riveting reality check that has set the country talking. Abhishek Bachchan wrote on X, “12th Fail is the best film of 2023”. The stormy siren of Bollywood, Kangana Ranaut who had earlier referred to Massey as a cockroach, now says Vikrant is the new Irfan Khan. There are others who say “A leaner Sanjeev Kumar, Massey is incredible “. Briefly 12th Fail is the poignant story of Manoj Kumar Sharma from the wilderness of Chambal who dares to dream of becoming an IPS officer. Massey and his portrayal are bound to launch many such aspirants from the heartlands of rural India.  It is quite known that UPSC is one of the toughest exams to crack. We predict that Massey’s compelling performance may inspire many youths. Who knows 12th Fail may be a case study at the Academy in Mussoorie.
Udhayanidhi_011

Udhayanidhi To Be Appointed Dy Chief Minister Before Stalin Goes Overseas?

The talking heads and wise seers of the DMK are busy communicating on the Jungle drums. Speculations, strategy analysis and data mining are in feverish mode. Naturally. It seems TN chief minister MK Stalin wants to be poll ready in all respects before being poll bound. Of late, Stalin has had niggling health issues exacerbated by a punishing schedule. The 72-year old has been advised an overseas health tuning check-up which was long overdue. With two big high profile events — the Global Investors Meet on January 7-8 carrying heavy payloads and DMK Youth Wing meet on January 17 when Udhayanidhi is all set to play the stellar role in the succession plan as chief of the Youth Wing. Stalin, according to sources, will soon appoint his son as the Deputy CM, so that pecking orders are clearly demarcated in his absence. Another factor that may be a source for concern is from half-sister Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, a possible challenger to the succession plan, Kanimozhi who celebrated her birthday on January 5, was seen working noticeably for flood relief in Thoothukudi, then flying to Chennai to pay homage at her father’s and Arignar Anna’s memorials, then rushing to get Stalin’s blessings, and getting a call from superstar Vijay wishing her. All these optics were significant indicating that she is no push over.  It is being speculated that Stalin may announce Udhayanidhi’s elevation soon before going for overseas check-up.
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Has PM Modi’s TN Visit Left Stalin Speechless?

The Tiruchirappalli state visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the airport inaugural did not go well for Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, who came back to Chennai with eye watering and irritation. His planned opening of the very popular annual Chennai Book Fair was cancelled, even as Udhayanidhi Stalin and minister for education Anbil Mahesh were deputed to take his place. Stalin was headed straight to a well-known Vision Institute for an eye check-up. But this eye problem seemed much less severe to the CM when compared to his mood that had turned visibly irritated at the PM’s event. Just when Stalin started his welcome speech, an excited Mexican Wave with “Modi, Modi” rented the air and Stalin was literally speechless. The PM had to signal for quiet during Stalin’s speech…naturally, the turn of events irritated him. But this kind of rally call is not new to him; just in April, when Modi had come to Chennai with Union minister L Murugan, the DMK cadres meted out the same crowd call….”Stalin, Stalin”, and minister Murugan could not continue his address. Had Modi finally dented the seemingly unconquerable Dravidian Aura? A survey by the DMK top guns revealed that a large section of the front rows were filled with BJP followers who reached the venue by 7 am while DMK cadres trooped in by 8.30 am. This after DMK senior minister KN Nehru and others were tasked with collecting big crowds. Looks like BJP paid DMK with the same coin.
malvika m

South’s Popular Star Malavika Mohanan Slams IndiGo Service

Making her Tamil film debut in Petta, this classic Malayalee beauty, Malavika Mohanan has mesmerised her fans in every film since Master (with Vijay), Maran (with Dhanush). Her classic good looks and proven talent gave her the boost to be cast with Chiyan Vikram in the soon to hit screens, Thangalan, yet another KGF story about the Kolar Gold fields . This story is about a tribal leader Thangalan and his valiant fight with the British rulers to save his gold mine from being overrun. Malavika had to train intensely for her role, especially for the Silambam martial art. The movie slated for release on January 26 has now been postponed. Malavika in the meanwhile has signed up for a Telugu starrer as the heroine of star hulk Prabhas. With such exciting professional activities, she still finds time to express her views on social media. When a looker and actor write, the audience are drawn to such posts. Imagine the effect her post on the poor service of IndiGo Air had on her 1.2 mn followers. She took to X to convey her unhappiness with the bad service and rude staff on her flight from Jaipur. “My career is going places, but Indigo service is not what one expects. “IndiGo of course responded with the usual come back…we shall definitely look into this matter and get back to you.”
premlatha vijayakanth

Legacy Of Late Vijayakanth, Can Captain’s Widow Fit Into His Shoes?

The crowds that came to mourn late Captain Vijayakanth, founder of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam(DMDK), were unprecedented, harking back to the same heart-rending sorrow when MGR passed away. The intelligence wing conveyed that 1.5 lakh people had come in person. Starting his political career in 2005, Vijayakanth aka “dark MGR” had not just made a significant transition from films to politics, but had become the leader of the opposition when J Jayalalithaa was in power — a rare feat.  Apparently, Vijayakanth’s demise has not left a succession void or clamour for leadership. Wife Premalatha, who is also a party treasurer, had taken charge even as he was in and out of hospitals in the last few years. She is no pretender inheritor. A little known fact about her. A BA in English literature, Premalatha is a former national level Shotput and Discus Throw athlete. Even as she stood by her husband’s cortège in the heat with crowds milling around, the determination to swim through this was evident. So were the efforts of the BJP, and other local TN parties to bring her into their sphere. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman who attended the funeral was seen conveying the woman to woman empathy. Would the cosying up translate into an alliance? Premalatha is a canny and savvy woman. She must be fully aware of the worth and weight of Vijayakanth’s legacy. The ensuing months will show how strong and agile a sharpshooter Premalatha turns out to be.
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Tamil Nadu‘s Village Cooking Channel Is Ready For Global Viewing

This New Year, Tamil Nadu is all set to host The Global Investor Meet on January 7. TN Industries minister Dr TRB Rajaa has conceptualised a number of unusual investor magnets to make this summit not just a meet, greet and eat exotic South Indian cuisine congregation, but a totally new investor experience with a wide spectrum of business choices. The summit will showcase not just big tech, the new energy vistas, green footprint enterprises but also give a ringside seat to TN’s vast rural economy. For starters, the much talked about Village Cooking you tube channel is to participate and present the country’s scrumptious village cuisine, unique to every region, using local ingredients and in season produce, and  drool worthy dishes . A Pudukkottai village, Chinna Veera Mangalam has gained 100 million viewers for its Village Cooking — a start-up launched by six friends in 2018, viewed globally. But for its chief dreamer M Periathambi, it was not a millet cake walk. Initially they had no viewers for the rustic and unfamiliar cuisine. “So they paused, took a look at their mistakes and learned from other cooking channels. From 3 episodes per week, it is only three per month now but fine-tuned, presented with much spontaneity. They earn Rs 10 lakhs per month. According to Vishnu Venugopal from Guidance (a nodal agency for Investor inflows) its aim is to tap the entrepreneurial talent of rural areas. Food is a great leveller, rural or urban. POWERED BY : IDFC FIRST BANK
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Is A Reconciliation Between BJP And AIADMK In The Offing?

AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palanisami (EPS) seems to have got his calculations all wrong when he broke away from the NDA to Lone Ranger status for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Was it an act of bravado or was his defiance based on ego problems with the BJP? Incidentally, EPS did not attract that overwhelming response from small political parties that cannot face an election alone, but add up to respectable strength as allies. The only party (quite unknown), Puratchi Bharatham led by Poovai Jagannathan has allied with AIADMK. Even as his cadres were focusing on flood relief work in Southern districts, EPS had to attend a “conclave“ of this unknown party in Villupuram. The veteran, better known parties and power stakeholders like PMK and Vijayakanth’s Themu Thika are not making haste to join AIADMK-led coalition. His cadres are lamenting, “What seat sharing with one party”? Are both the breakaways regretting the break-up? According to some sources, the BJP is now firmly in the saddle after the three states election wins. The talk is that the BJP high command have zeroed in on Tamil Manila Congress leader GK Vasan to bring about a face saving rapport. Vasan is perceived as a calm pacifist, capable of convincing stubborn sides and like his late father GK Mooppanar bring prickly issues to the deal making table.
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Rajinikanth And Dhanush To Fight For Box Office Space On Pongal Day

In Tamil Nadu new film releases have been part of the Pongal ethos for eons, and for the film stakeholders, a sentiment. This Pongal, the superstar family in TN is ready to make history even as Aishwarya Rajinikanth is all set to Lal Salaam her audience with her father in a cameo in her directorial. Music by AR Rahman is the plus factor that has already set fan hearts pounding with the first teaser single Ther Thiruvizha. The lyrics and rural rustic beat of this song is bound to bring in repeat audiences. As if to prove that the father-daughter duo and their family effort is not the sole offering to entertain on Pongal, Dhanush, the estranged husband is ready to clash with his Captain Miller directed by acclaimed Arun Matheshwaran who gave two unconventional hits, Rocky and Saani Kayidam (cow dung paper). And the music single Killer Killer Captain Miller set to music by GV Prakash and vocalised in Rap by Dhanush himself has already set foot tapping. This is what creative competition and commercial cunning is all about. Bung in brewing family hostility, marital discord to the mix, and looks like everyone can laugh all the way to the bank. But wait there is a catch to this cine Jallikkattu — a third Alien (Ayalaan), with Sivakarthikeyan in lead is all set to intrude into this conflict and hopes to cash in on a new theme. Is it Lal Salam for Captain Miller or can the Ayalaan (Alien) make his mark?
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Telangana Governor Ticks Off Stalin Jr Over His Intemperate Language

The DMK and its high decibel love for Tamil seems to have bypassed the loyalty of heir-in-waiting Udhayanidhi Stalin. Hardly had the dust and diatribe settled on Udhayanidhi’s interpretation of Sanatana Dharma, he has taken on himself yet another controversial indiscreet challenge. The Tamil Nadu government has sought Rs 5,060 crore relief from the Centre to rehabilitate people affected by Cyclone Michaung. The Centre, after the visit of its two senior ministers, sanctioned Rs 450 crore in two tranches. Irked by this amount, Stalin Jr said, “We did not ask for anybody’s father’s property…just our tax money.” Put off by the tone and tenor of such intemperate words, the Governor of Telangana & Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Tamilisai Soundararajan, took on Stalin Jr and said “Is this Kalaignar’s grandson for real? The Kalaignar we all knew and respected would never use such words. Even ticking off someone would be in chaste Tamil with all the niceties intact.” Adding further she said that any DMK member can ask, is this monolith your grandfather/father’s property that you just walk in and claim as yours? The Governor further warned the young colt, your diatribe on Sanatana Dharma has raised the hackles of many in the I.N.D.I.A front. Udhayanidhi who feels that he is entitled to the last word said “Ok, I shall rephrase my comment. Is this the venerable Governor’s father’s estate?
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@juniorbachchan

Abhishek Bachchan To Turn Villain Down South?

Star children and their “entitled“ film status debate has been done to death but still rages on even after the disaster that The Archies and the omnibus “heirlooms” turned out to be. Abhishek Bachchan is a special star heir, and entered the film firmament with a heft very few have — Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan for parents. It couldn’t get better than this. But in 23 years, 50 films under his belt the 47-year old star has had more flops than box office rockets except the Dhoom franchises, Bunty aur Babli, Bol Bachchan and Housefull. The recent critically acclaimed sports drama Ghoomer directed by R Balki did not do well. The latest buzz is that Abhishek is in talks with South production powerhouse AGS Movies to be signed up for Thani Oruvan2 — the 2015 hit which is still remembered not so much for hero Jayam Ravi but more for the mark left by Arvind Swami, the suave and intense villain. Arvind Swami is dead at close of the film. So when AGS announced Thani Oruvan 2, people wondered who would fill the villain’s menace, suave and intense. Nayanthara remains unchanged for the new story directed by Mohan Raja (Ravi’s brother). Can Abhishek take on the role played by Arvind Swami? Even born heirs get challenged to fill the shoes of the mighty. The dare only gets more daring.
Dayanidhi Azhagiri

Family Bonding Evident As Stalin’s Nephew In Apollo ICU After Suffering A Stroke

On December 6, even as Chennai reeled under the horrific hit of cyclone Michaung, the first family of Tamil Nadu was hit by another body blow. Young Dhayanidhi Azhagiri, Alagiri’s son, late Kalaignar’s grandson, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s cousin and the heir who missed the TN gaddi due to his stormy father’s confrontational nature, was battling a stroke and possible serious complications of high BP and cardiac blockage. The fourth floor Apollo Hospital ICU had turned into an unusual family bonding space. For years the internecine blood and power dynamics of this DMK founding family was a public subject of conjecture. So when Stalin’s entire family,  Maran brothers family, Stalin’s sister Selvi and husband Selvan, half sister Kanimozhi and family, MK Thamizharasu gathered around Madurai strongman Alagiri and wife Kanthi even through the stark seriousness of this occasion, the family bonding was evident. Dhayanidhi Azhagiri, is as adept as Udhayanidhi in film centered business ventures and his Cloud Nine Movies Flagship had profited by his business acumen. He had been drawn into controversies for a mining scam. But with the unfolding of Udhayanidhi’s elevation as heir, Dhayanidhi was not much in the news. It is poignant family events like this which heal festering enmity and foster rapprochement. We wish Dhayanidhi a speedy recovery.
Stalin podcast

Following Modi’s Footsteps, Stalin’s Podcast Speaking For India

No one can fault Stalin for not trying to be the inventive anchor and persistent planner for giving voice to the I.N.D.I.A front. So like PM Modi he too started podcasts, Speaking For India every month from September this year. He even mobilised the support of Didi and Kejriwal to appear in cameo roles in podcasts. Suddenly the December edition was postponed, with DMK cadres speculating on why! Pat came the justification. This podcast coincidentally was about the TN Governor and his hostile stance…Stalin cleverly justified that as the SC and CJI had rapped the governor, including the new development would make it more relevant. Those close to him also talk about the visit of Akhilesh Yadav for unveiling of the former Prime Minister VP Singh’s statue — a creative revival of the Mandal Kamandal clarion call. Stalin requested UP’s stormy petrel to make a serious effort to patch up with the Congress. Akhilesh, it is learnt, told Stalin that the Congress has no standing in UP, does not have even suitable candidates, so why should our party kowtow to Congress? To this spurred Stalin baiters asked, “DMK and Congress are in the alliance in TN. Yet you could not ask the Congress to get Kaveri water for TN. What kind of doublespeak is this? Stalin’s aims to make his brand of Mann ki Baat …Sammaan ki Baat.
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Jayalalithaa’s Seventh Death Anniversary Churns Up Hostilities Among Splintered AIADMK Factions

The seventh death anniversary of Tamil Nadu’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa may prove to be a daunting task for Chennai police as her acolytes and the splintered party factions are planning to pay tributes at the Marina beach Memorial in a show of strength. Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), the legitimate AIADMK chief has already sent the fiat to all 15 of his district functionaries….I want a deluge of party workers for the homage. His rival O Panneerselvam (OPS) struggling to get legitimacy for his faction and stay relevant has corralled his ragtag following to come in large numbers. TTV Dinakaran has set a target of 1000 persons to be brought by each party functionary. But wait, the icing on the cake…the dowager Queen Sasikala who still clings on to her title of General Secretary is planning a power packed presence …remember her first performance when she hit JJ’s monument with her fists after being convicted? Each faction has sent letters to the police asking for different time slots for paying “respects” to Amma. The police Intelligence wing is now fearing and processing a possible law and order issue which has its roots in the Thevar Poojai. On October 30, when the Thevar Guru Poojai mammoth gathering was held, EPS attended to convey his loyalty to the Mukkulathur community. But his motorcade was hit by chappals and stones, an incident that left the AIADMK seething. AIADMK blamed the OPS and TTV factions for this. A poignant memorial meet is now giving nightmares to the police.
katthal

Mammootty’s Path Breaking Film Banned In The Middle East

At 72, this Kerala megastar defies all efforts to define his reach and artistic core. Mammootty is in a different range altogether, with no gimmicks, star props and hectic marketing image to sustain his star aura. Mammootty is Mammootty…perhaps a bit bored with the kind of roles that have come his way, he is consistently reinventing himself. So he started Mammootty Film Kampany not to show that he can produce more saleable films but to give himself ample space to experiment with themes and ideas that can impact society. Nanpagal Nerathu Mayakkam and Kannur Squad are from his stable though not commercial successes. His latest film Kaathal: The Core is being acclaimed as a path breaker, a reinvention of his versatility and a film that will be remembered long after you watch the last fade out. Director Jeo Baby, fresh from his success with The Great Indian Kitchen has partnered with Mammootty to deal with a taboo subject not with surgical strike aggression, but the delicate cuts of a trauma surgeon.  But it has been banned in Qatar and GCC countries where an overwhelming Malayali diaspora lap up Mammootty films. Reason Mammootty is a homosexual, leading a complex life of deceit, though happily married to Omana (played brilliantly by Jyotika). These countries have strict censorship for offbeat themes. There are ever so many stigma subjects in society and films like Kaathal: The Core do impact how society can show more tolerance and acceptance.
aavin

Consumers In Tamil Nadu Up In Arms As Aavin Stops Distribution Of Popular Green Pack Milk

Aavin, the largest dairy cooperative controlled by the Tamil Nadu government has hit headlines. Set up in 1981, this popular brand like Amul in Tamil Nadu has stopped distribution of its popular Green pack milk which enjoys 40% market share. Green pack which contains 4.5% fat content has been replaced by lavender coloured Delite which has 3.5 % fat content. This move has sent consumers and Opposition parties into a tizzy of anger. TN’s former CM Edappadi Palaniswami and AMMK’s supremo TTV Dinakaran condemned the move to sell less fat content Delite at the same price. This move is to popularise private milk brands through the back door says BJP leader K Annamalai. It may be recalled a few months when Amul was making inroads into TN, the DMK government raised hue and cry how local brands are being cannibalized. Neighbouring Karnataka during elections time saw similar protests by politicians saying how local brand Nandini was being killed with the entry of Amul. Interestingly, TN’s minister for milk production, Mano Thangaraj has come up with an ingenious justification, “Look how health conscious people are…they don’t want fat in any form. We have public health as our main concern.” Aavin which processes 30 lakh litres of milk every day ranks eight in consumer packaged goods category of 10 most famous brands. Several private sector players have tried to compete but are unable to sustain Aavin’s reach, price point and popularity.
thangam thennarasu

When Power Tripped At Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister’s Event

Tamil Nadu has historically been power deficit…not political power but energy wise. People still talk about a 1997 movie starring Prabhudeva and Kajol, Minsara Kanavu (Electric Dream). Chronic power cuts then made people mock, “For us, minsarame kanavu “electricity is just a dream “. Looks like alternate Dravidian Gaddi occupiers have not found a light at the end of the tunnel over the years. Electricity has consistently been the bug bear of both AIADMK and DMK. But slick talking ministers of the DMK government have a talent for turning adversity into opportunity. Some time back, TN’s Electricity Minister Thangam Thennarasu (stand in for V Senthil Balaji) was addressing a press meet in Tirunelveli when the lights went off and the venue turned dark. Immediately the media persons turned on their cell phone lights and bathed the stage in light. The minister had a unique way of acknowledging the timely light up , “I was wondering about what content I could talk about today. You guys have now found your content. You can headline your feed… Lights off when the electricity minister addresses the media…you have a powerful story “. Trust a politician to turn any crisis into an opportunity.
Dr swamy interviet

Dr Swamy To Thanthi TV: Have Not Visited Ayodhya After Winning The Case

Once upon a time he was a great friend of Narendra Modi and rooted for him becoming a PM. But, now in the last seven years he is not in talking terms with PM Modi and has become a Modi-baiter. Dr Subramanian Swamy, the political enfant terrible, uses every fora to attack PM Modi and Amit Shah on China border issue, economy et al. So it was not surprising he vented his spleen when Thanthi TV’s popular anchor Ashokavarshini interviewed him. The 84-year old Dr Swamy, who enjoys Z Security cover, spoke in Tamil minced no words while attacking Modi. In the 38-minute free-wheeling interview Dr Swamy made quite a few revelations. He told the anchor “I want BJP to win the 2024 elections but without Modi.” When she asked “Is he angry because he was not made the finance minister”? His reply was “Good, I did not become a FM as I would have not listened to him. He does not understand economics.” From pooh-poohing IMF to driving home the point that mentored PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr Swamy says he has not visited Ayodhya after winning the case. He says that PM Modi asked him to take over as the chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries but he flatly declined. This perhaps could be one of the triggers for their relationship turning sour. Ultimately, the bank’s post, eyed by many including Yashwant Sinha, was taken over by KV Kamath.
Senthil MKStalin

DMK Leader Senthil Balaji On The Hospital Carousel Again

By now DMK leader V Senthil Balaji is a pan India media figure for wrong reasons. His arrest on June 13 this year, his admission to the government-run Omandurar Hospital, even as he clutched his chest and fell, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin visiting him, then being shifted to Kauvery Hospital for a much bandied bypass and his continued stay there till he was taken to Puzhal prison. Both his bail pleas were rejected. Now, his bail plea will be heard in the Supreme Court on November 20. Once again, Balaji complained of unease in prison and was taken to the government-run Stanley Hospital under heavy police escort, and finally shifted to Omandurar Hospital. Why is Stalin still keeping him as minister without a portfolio? Maybe because he held two hefty power packed portfolios — electricity and TASMAC which are considered money spinners. His talents as back room go-to-man, who guarantees outcomes are much sought after. And this is why he played important roles in all parties. But, surely, he must be ruing the day he crossed over from AIADMK to TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK to finally land in the DMK. Now with two big elections looming large, it is learnt that DMK is pulling out all stops to face his bail plea in the SC. Balaji may have had a malefic Saturn stinging his heels to end up in Puzhal prison. So will his fortune turn after November 20?
stalin ravi

Are Nagas Collateral Damage In Fight Between TN Governor And DMK?

The marathon skirmishes of the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and the DMK government are a source of almost daily entertainment for the media. If made into an OTT series, it may run into several seasons. So political wags were in for a surprise when DMK baiting came from a totally different direction — Nagaland BJP Governor Ela Ganesan who hastened to take up the Naga cause even as Ravi had hauled DMK stalwart and former MP RS Bharathi over hot coals over his Nagas dog meat reference. In his eloquent Tamil oratory, Bharathi criticised Governor Ravi for unwarranted meddling. “We all know how he had to quit Nagaland in a hurry. The Nagas too were fed up with his meddlesome ways. Even dog meat eaters like the Nagas found his interference unwarranted. We Tamilians, eating salt of the earth, are incensed“. Ganesan, not wanting to be sidelined, joined the litany. “Nagas did not hound him out. They are peace loving and dignified. As for their food preferences, no one should comment on the culture and tradition of other demographics“.  One hopes the Nagas are sufficiently appeased and their national worth upheld by two Governors. Just shows one man’s meat is another’s political poison dart.
thufg life

‘Thug Life’ Birthday For Ulaga Nayagan Who Turns 69

Kamal Haasan has turned a legend in his lifetime, conquering artistic heights that only a few Indian actors have scaled. The Ulaga Nayagan (universal hero) sobriquet in his case is not just a cinematic encomium but a justified title.  A skilled Bharat Natyam artist, screenplay and story writer, singer, director and actor, his every film only adds to his aura. Veteran actor Sivakumar says, “I consider only two actors as unparalleled – the late Shivaji Ganesan, and Kamal.” Kamal turned 69 on November 7. Imagine the delight of his fans when his upcoming movie with Mani Ratnam was introduced with a riveting title video Thug Life. Thirty five years after the worldwide acclaim of Ratnam and Kamal’s classic Nayakan, Thug Life will soon play in cinemas enhanced by its team of super talented artists –AR Rahman, Dulquer Salman, Trisha and Jayam Ravi.  The cherry on the cake was the voice over of Kamal, “I am Ranganayakan Saktivel Nayakkar from Kayalpattinam“, enough to send diehard Kamal fans into ecstasy. Thug Life is bankrolled by his own production house and Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Movies. This conveys a significant message; business is business and political postures are on a different track, expedient and expected. Kamal has annoyed the DMK by insisting that his party Makkal Needhi Maiyyam be given three seats — Coimbatore, Madurai and South Chennai.
Indian 2

Kollywood’s New Marketing Strategy, Rajini Unveils Trailer Of Kamal’s 'Indian 2'

Lyca productions started in 2014 by Subaskaran Allirajah has quantum leaped into big stakes cinema production. Lyca’s growth is big, bold and audacious to compete with the other two iconic production houses — SUN pictures and Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant movies. Has Lyca put all its eggs into one basket? Lyca is sure of its strategy; cross fertilise the marquee names of both Rajini and Kamal simultaneously and use their mass standing as rocket launchers. The sequel version of 1996 blockbuster Indian directed by S Shankar is now ready for cinemas in January 2024. The film started in 2017 had some setbacks. Pre-release promos have now taken on a new mega dimension in Kollywood and every trick in the marketing book is woven in to whip the insatiable appetite of fans. Superstar Rajini did the honours by releasing the teaser of Indian 2 and sent the combined fan club of both these superstars into raptures. Lyca is currently producing Rajini’s Thalaivar 170, and this media exposure is not going to hurt its prospects even as the much delayed Indian 2 gets its endorsement from none other than Rajini who after a string of duds, got back to his pristine popularity through Jailer. Earlier, it was Kamal’s extraordinary success with Vikram. Similarly, Ilaya Thalapathy Vijay’s marketing and media moves for Leo put Rajini on the back foot. 
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Photo: Sakshi

Cinema And Politics Converge At Lata Rajinikanth’s Vijayadashami Puja

The media couldn’t stop gasping over the grand Vijayadashami Golu celebration hosted by superstar Rajinikanth’s wife Lata. The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Antilia by Nita Ambani may have inspired Rajini’s wife to present this event, even as the superstar was in Mumbai for the shoot of his film Thalaivar 170 with Amitabh Bachchan. It was the guest list that set off all kinds of speculations.Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin’s better half, Durga was invited, his sister Selvi was seen clinging to her now powerful bhabhi. Not to be missed Tamilisai Soundararajan (Governor of two states), and yesteryear Tamil heroines Khushbu, Lata and Meena. Tamil super hero Vijay’s mother Shobha, a well-known singer was there too. To add to the mystery mix, the presence of breakaway AIADMK’s O Panneerselvam was significant in what was a predominant ladies Puja party. Oh, did we forget to mention that cinema and politics are a volatile mix in TN? Daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya were busy hosts .The event was obviously orchestrated to convey speculations. Lata Rajinikanth could be planning a women’s auxiliary team under her leadership. Or was it a back room bid to bring in Panneerselvan, TTV and Sasikala as the substitutes for EPS who dared the titans? Whatever the purpose, the arc lights were turned on, literally on Brindavan. The dead end location of Rajini’s residence and the long line of vehicles backed up, made the intended statement.
Karukka rajbhavan

Is The DMK On The Backfoot After A Rowdy Lobs A Crude Country Bomb On The Raj Bhavan Gate?

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has rewritten history by confrontations with DMK ever since he stepped into the Raj Bhavan. On October 25, a crude petrol bomb was lobbed across the main gate of the Raj Bhavan by an alleged rowdy, Karukka Vinod. The shocked reaction of the Raj Bhavan, to the extent of calling in the NIA seems exaggerated, according to DMK and its claim about law and order breakdown in TN is a political ploy. It is still hoping to rope in a Dravidian party. But the DMK government and the Chennai Police Commissioner are now berated in every medium for their perceived apathy to such “a grave attack”. Governor Ravi has taken on the task of politically hitting the DMK with missionary zeal…not signing bills, especially the NEET, planning and executing his own socio political agendas much to the irritation of chief minister MK Stalin. The most recent blowout was his take on Dravidian attitude to Freedom Fighters from TN. He says that even freedom fighters are bracketed into caste categories and not given their due respect or recognition. Is this a curtain raiser to woo the Thevar votes as their leader? Muthuramalinga Thevar was an iconic freedom fighter. This tug-of-war between the Governor and DMK is going only to escalate till 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Leo_002

Of Leo, Lokesh Kanakaraj and LCU

Have you heard of LCU? Unlikely. It has just come into cinematic coinage pre- and post-release of Vijay’s Leo. It is Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU). Who is Lokesh? Remember that exotic character who clinched the super success of Vikram, overshadowing even Kamal Haasan? …. Rolex played by Surya. Lokesh Kanakaraj is now firmly at the centre of the film firmament after back to back hits like Master, Vikram, Michael and now Leo. His style of film making is now branded LCU. DMK’s controversial youth icon Udhayanidhi Stalin has also endorsed Leo. Ever since Leo shooting started, the savvy team of Vijay and Lokesh have carpeted social media with a blitz of bits, bites of news managing to captivate Vijay fans to drool with anticipation for the movie. Pre-release Leo had enough bug bears …early morning show times denied by DMK, cancellation of audio release, the falling out of cinema owners and distributors over percentage share et al. Looks like Vijay’s imminent political entry has added more spice to Leo. The final digital straw on the DMK’s back… chief minister’s son-in-law Sabareesan is said to have conducted a lightning survey of over 65 villages, found that youth in 20-25 age group have selflessly put up Leo flex banners at their own cost…this youth following may well translate into party cadres for Vijay Makkal Iyakkam. Politically savvy Kollywood stars have mastered the art and science of seamless crossover from cinema to politics
LEO

Vijay’s LEO Promos Peppered With Controversy

Kollywood superstar Vijay’s movie LEO, set to hit the screens on October 19, has raised the frenzy of his crazed fans. But LEO has also gathered a big baggage of controversies in its promotional rollout. With the box office competitive stakes sky high after the overflows of Vikram and Jailer, Vijay and Ajit in the same superstar status have to try harder. With his imminent entry into politics, the stakes have doubled for Vijay and his team, to work overtime in LEO’s pre- release publicity. But they did not have to work really hard. The controversies that twinned with its poster release, cancellation of the audio event, the shocking use of expletives in the trailer, the protest by 1000 dancers for not being paid for their work have charged up the pre promos sufficiently. Between Lokesh Kanakaraj the director, hit music director Anirudh and the production house, the team has kept the arc lights focussed on Vijay constantly. But not without some negative rumblings. Take the permission granted by the DMK government for extra crack of dawn shows (4 am and 7 am) on the first two days of release when fan mobs stampede their way into cinemas. The media immediately raised the question that when such shows are not permitted after Ajit’s Thunivu created problems, what made DMK agree? Is Vijay being wooed for an alliance?
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M Mahadevan gives new meaning to CSR, Photo : New Indian Express

CSR Of A Different Kind: Three Burn Survivors Fly To Dubai For High-End Culinary Training

People in Chennai may have read the news item with much emotion. Three young women employees of Writer’s Cafe, Priyatharshini, Parimala and Komala are all set to fly to Dubai for a three month high-end training at its International Centre for Culinary Arts. So what’s special about these women? Time was when none of them could even come out in public and face the world, literally, all victims of severe burns, traumatised by domestic violence or sexual exploitation. They owe their total rehabilitation and entry into a work life of self-esteem to one man — the visionary marketing Guru, international foodie and serial entrepreneur restaurateur who transformed baking from mere bread to Hot Breads. M Mahadevan, founder of Oriental Cuisines which runs bakery chain Hot Breads gives new meaning to CSR and employability to the underprivileged. Mahadevan‘s motto, no expectation of life time allegiance from his beneficiaries. He encourages them to grow wings and find their own space. The story of the three women employees from Writer’s Cafe (started as a partnership with Higginbothams, the iconic book shop) is organised and funded by Mahadevan. Mahadevan assures them, after your return you can start your own enterprise or come back to us. That’s a classic Mahadevan CSR. India has many such societally exploited groups begging on the streets. If more Mahadevans open their hearts and purse, socially shunned and marginalised persons can become self-sufficient.
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Beautiful Entrepreneur: Kollywood Superstar 9thara Launches 9SKIN

Kollywood’s Lady Superstar Nayanthara is in the news for many facets …blessed with riveting beauty, she is now talked about for her smart business sense too, even as she launched her beauty brand 9SKIN with elan and style in Malaysia. Fresh off the pan India success of her movie Jawan with SRK, and the just launched psycho thriller Iraivan with Jeyam Ravi. Not many film stars have ventured into an enterprise that brings beauty, skin care and marketing mix in an innovative brand portfolio. If you thought Nayan is cannily cashing in on her filmi status, you are wrong. She is thinking beyond her film star shelf life. Ayurveda and ancient Indian plant based skin care basics like turmeric, essential plant oils, sandalwood are coveted. The saga of Fair & Lovely has cautioned the consumers and entrepreneurs about the dangers of chemical-based skin products. Now, global beauty brands, L’Oréal and Estee Lauder are keen to invest in such home grown enterprises. According to Euromonitor International, the Indian beauty market which was valued at $12 bn in 2018 is projected to jump to $17 bn by 2025. Clearly, Nayanthara knows that her own glass skin is the best blurb for her products.
Siddharth cauvery

Siddharth’s ‘Siddha’, A Film With Message Hounded Out By Cauvery Protesters

Siddharth was addressing the press in Bengaluru, talking about his latest film Siddha, which deals with the incendiary theme of child sex abuse. Suddenly a team of Cauvery activists walked in and literally shooed him out. “Pack up your film promotion. Even as the two states are in headlong confrontation, your Tamil rhetoric is not welcome here“.  A cool Siddharth just thanked the media and walked out. This act of chicanery is shocking in a state run by Congress, best buddies and allies of the DMK, a party that is in total denial that the TN farmers are deeply agitated and frustrated by Karnataka refusing to open the Cauvery hatch. Siddha is a small budget film with a heart rending message in which Siddharth plays the role of a family man taking care of his deceased brother’s 8-year old daughter. How he gets into the vortex of alleged sexual abuse and what really happens to this child is a heart rending story. SU Arunkumar, director of low budget hits like Pannayarum Padminum , Sethupathi and Sindbadhas crafted a meaningful story. And a powerful social message. Shockingly, this political interference in artistic entertainment is condoned by leaders …shows how hollow political alliances and their fulsome social platitudes are, in reality. Who cares if more children are brutally assaulted?
Sai pallavi

Fake Marriage Photo Angers Actor Sai Pallavi

The film gossip conveyor belt is on turbo mode getting more ingenious in plating up fake news in authentic garb. This apparent “wedding” photo of popular actor Sai Pallavi is on frantic viewership. Sai Pallavi, the girl who shot to fame in her very first Malayalam movie Premam as Malar teacher is a busy actor in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies. But she was in for a shock after the muhurat of her new film, SK 21 featuring Sivakarthiketan as hero and directed by Rajkumar Periyasamy (produced by Kamalhaasan). The group muhurat picture was creatively cropped and spread as “Sai Pallavi and Periasamy get married? A furious Sai is now hitting out at such cheap tricks by “publicity hounds”…a possible many who stand to gain. Marriages may be made in Heaven…but in filmdom, marrying off two people with no fear of a backlash is common. Recently, Anirudh , newsmaker musician and Keerthi Suresh were shown to be serious about hitching their stars. Keerthi’s father is busy denying. Trisha Krishnan at 40, single and blazing was also “married” to a Malayalam director. In the bigger scheme of films such publicity is secretly coveted.
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Why AIADMK Walked Out Of NDA In A Huff

The now on, now off relationship between BJP and AIADMK see-sawed for over 10 days when criticism and condemnation of the BJP by EPS and cohorts flew thick and fast. The main target is K Annamalai. How can our revered Annadurai whose name is the anchor for our party’s very existence be sullied like this or our beloved Amma insulted? The people of Tamil Nadu will never forgive us if we turn into ingrates thundered party chief EPS; all this after senior party leaders had camped in the capital to meet home minister Amit Shah but, they could not meet even BJP president JP Nadda. One of the reasons for AIADMK walking out of NDA is they asked Annamalai to be replaced. And BJP, impressed by his padayatra, is not ready to oblige. The other reason for breakup, according to a Vikatan source, TN for over 60 years acknowledges only two parties…the AIADMK and the DMK, an almost Pavlovian response to set cues of Dravidian ideology….promises, schisms and caste divides , blame all ills on the prosperous Brahmins. A third dimension, making an impact here has to neutralise this Dravidian rhetoric. But for Tamils, a north Indian power is poison ivy, Hindi allergy and Delhi Sultanate baggage. And most crucial, TN is dreading the post census delimitation which would definitely cut its Parliament numbers.  Also, EPS is rabidly opposing any back room bid by BJP to bring in OPS and Sasikala along with TTV Dinakaran. There lies the rub.
AR Rahman

@arrahman

No Symphony: AR Rahman’s Concert In Chennai Turns Into A Nightmare Stampede

AR Rahman, the slumdog millionaire and Oscar holder dreamt of a grand music concert, planning to belt out his immortal songs in Tamil to delight a mammoth crowd. Passionately he named the concert Marakkuma Nenjam(will this heart forget). Sure enough the 50,000 odd crowd that pushed into the venue which could accommodate just 20,000 ticket holders swear they would never forget the stampede, women and kids screaming in alarm, people pushing their way through and genuine ticket holders of Rs 5000 left high and dry, unable to get to their assigned seats. The blame game is in full swing…most blame the organisers ACTC events who seemed to have only focused on raking in the money at any cost. The sound system was so poor that even those near the stage could not hear much. People in the know are putting the onus squarely on the maestro himself for trusting an event organiser like ACTC. Incidentally, the maestro himself was grounded in the traffic grid near the venue. The negative publicity saw Rahman tweeting, “Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren’t able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to arr4chennai@btos.in along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap.” Will this tweet be music to the ears of Rahman’s fans? Not really.
Jagan arrest

Chandrababu Naidu’s Arrest: A Game Changer In Andhra Pradesh Power Balance?

Much as the ruling party, Jagan Mohan’s YSR Congress wanted to make former Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s crack of dawn arrest look like a logical move to punish him for corruption in the Skill Development case, the TDP leaders and political analysts are convinced that this whole thing was planned and executed to coincide with AP chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s sojourn in the US. Even as he was remanded to 14-day judicial custody, Andhra erupted into angry protests by TDP cadres who also called for bandh. Actress Roja the firebrand YSR Congress distributed sweets celebrating Babu’s arrest. Not that Naidu has the image of an unsullied political saint ….after his election loss, he has been fighting a running battle with YSR, trying to cadge favours from the BJP, and simultaneously trying his luck for Congress support — classic case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Is Jagan’s intent to make him an untouchable for the BJP? The I.N.D.I.A bloc has immediately condemned the arrest and professed their sympathy. Telugu star and JanaSena Party founder Pawan Kalyan showing his solidarity to Naidu protested by sleeping on the road as he was denied entry into Andhra. AP is on high alert as TDP cadres are baying for blood, it could turn violent. The moot point is will BJP align with Naidu’s party after such negative publicity?
Thani Oruvan

Sequel Fever: AGS Entertainment Gets Ready For ‘Thani Oruvan 2’ With Jayam Ravi

The sustained box office and artistic success of Southern films is not just about strong story lines, brilliant directors, tight budgets, organised shooting schedules and artists who give value for what they earn. Southies know how to get the best ROI, even in remarkable budget films. Much of the credit goes to producers like AGS Entertainment founded in 2006 by three brothers — S Aghoram, S Ganesh, and S Suresh — which has consistently bankrolled good, wholesome and mostly family oriented themes. AGS Entertainment just announced their Thani Oruvan 2 to mark 8 years of the original hit movie that ran in cinemas for 50 days, grossed Rs 150 crore worldwide, with no carpet-bombing gimmickry or cooked books. What is even more remarkable, the sibling team of director Mohan Raja and Jayam Ravi, team up yet again for a seventh film in Thani Oruvan 2. Jayam Ravi is already riding high as a bankable artist, as gracefully as he rode a caparisoned elephant in both Ponniyin Selvans. He is Ponniyin Selvan, Mani Rathnam’s muse. Starting with Jayam, M Kumaran S/O of Mahalakshmi, Unakka Enakka , Santosh Subramaniam, Thillalangadi, Thani Oruvan 1 all back-to-back hits, and paisa vasool for film buffs. Jayam Ravi will play an IPS officer Mithran once again. Spoiler alert …could the antagonist go after the hero? Nayantara is his love light.
Rail Radhika

Radhika Sarathkumar, The Super Brand Of Tamil Films Turns 60

Radhika Sarathkumar chugged into the film scene in Bharathiraja’s Kizhakke Pogum Rail in 1978. Today, she is the Bullet train of Kollywood, trail blazing her way through over 200 films and Tamil mega serials that have spun money and enduring fame for this superb actor. Her very first film (ran for 365 days in theatres) and its success brought her the sobriquet Rail Radhika, and the SUN TV serial, Chithi made her the family icon of thousands of women who waited for the prime time slot of Chithi. Significantly, Radhika would have not aced any star test…she herself once acknowledged that she is a plain Jane, no sultry siren nor sexy screen sizzler. But she was the master of transformation to the character she played and the audience remembered her performance even in average films. Her only claim to fame at her debut was that she is the daughter of late MR Radha, a controversial and stormy petrel of Kollywood in his heydays. She went through three marriages, her second one to Prathap Pothan, actor-filmmaker. Finally she has found her anchor in actor Sarathkumar. Her vast experience in show biz motivated her to start her own company, Radaan Mediaworks which has produced a number of TV shows. Radhika still remains the iconic rail Radhika, a woman who scripted her life on her terms. Happy birthday Radhika.
EPS madurai

EPS: The Man Who Aspires To Be Another MGR!

AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palanisami (EPS) organised a mega event in Madurai on August 20. To draw crowds from all over Tamil Nadu, money was poured like ghee on the havan khund. A few party cadres say they were given tickets for Jailer, costing Rs 4,000 and exhorted to make it to Madurai at any cost. According to local intelligence, lakhs of ADMK?????(OR AIADMK) cadres…. came for the meet, to evaluate EPS and his crowd pulling ability vis a vis MGR and JJ. EPS smiled all the way through the meet, accepted piles of garlands and anointed himself Purathchi Thamizhar (revolutionary Tamilian) as prefixes. But deep down, EPS is acutely aware of the serious threats to his status and leadership. The BJP is playing a wily game of seemingly promoting EPS, knowing full well that at the right time they could up the ante and demand more seats in an alliance. BJP leader K Annamalai’s job is to needle EPS regularly just in case he acts tough in their shotgun marriage. Meanwhile, the troika of Sasikala, OPS, and TTV are baying at his heels, raking up every scandal including the shooting at late JJ’s Kodanadu estate. The option of merging his outfit AIADMK with BJP may have been attractive …till a savvy political leader told him, he would totally lose that Dravidam brand and leave the DMK the full arena to skate. Sleeping with the enemy brings its own dangers.
RNRavi_MKStalin flag

No Holds Barred Between Tamil Nadu Governor And Chief Minister

What Mantara and Shakuni wrought by diligently working on Kaikeyi and Duryodhana’s psyche in our epics is now quoted in Tamil Nadu. BJP leader K Annamalai’s faithfuls busy working overtime constantly citing the omissions and commissions of Governor RN Ravi. Even as the NEET bill assent is hanging in the balance of Raj Bhavan, the Governor hosted a tea meet to congratulate those who had passed the exam. The father of a student stood up to ask, “Sir, when are you signing this Bill?” Prompt came the response “If I had the authority, never.” On a recent tour of Thiruvannamalai, Governor Ravi went round the ultra holy Giri Valam path (lakhs circumambulate this hill on Poornimas) and said, non-veg food being served here must stop. Even as the Governor meets and greets the press, Annamalai has been quietly smouldering …there is talk that he has spoken about such matters to the top. Stories are doing the rounds that Annamalai is convinced that his walkathon has been seriously neutralised and marginalised by the Governor’s Raj Bhavan Durbar Hall. To add insult to injury, Stalin says let the Governor stay on till the Elections…he is our chief campaign mascot! An alternate Flag hoisting by Stalin at the Fort St, George, boycotting the Governor’s traditional ceremony clearly indicates that it is all out war in TN between the Governor and chief minister.
Jailer_002

Rajini Reloaded: Jailer Sets Screen On Fire

Those who predicted another crash landing at the Box Office for superstar Rajini are now silently swallowing their dire forecast as Jailer has reportedly crossed the Rs 300 crore mark worldwide box office in the first five days of its release. Trade circles are predicting that it could overtake Kamal’s Vikram and Vijay’s Beast. Reportedly, Rajini has already worshipped at Badrinath temple — his Himalayan escape — a routine so familiar to him on the release of a new film. After the lukewarm response to his Darbar and Annathe, he must have vowed to make a serious course correction and reclaim his place as the superstar in the filmy firmament. What a course correction it turned out to be! SUN Pictures’ strategy of signing on brand each from Bollywood (Jackie Shroff), Mollywood (Mohanlal ) and Shiv Rajkumar from  Karnataka ensured that the legion of fans  from each region would watch Jailer for their chosen icon. Anirudh and his peppy music made magic out of Kaavallaa, a track that Tamannaah ensured would leave the audience gasping; an overdose of violence to elicit a cathartic release of anger and angst and a family-centered story where revenge overcomes all else. And not to forget the promo blitz and pre-release publicity barrage that super-hyped the star Rajini’s dialogue, “inimey pechu ille, veechu thaan” (no more talk, just hack). Love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore Thalaiva.
Annamalai padyatra

DMK Mocks Annamalai’s Padyatra After He Rushes To Delhi Midway

Just nine days into his much hyped Tamil Nadu padayatra from Rameswaram, BJP leader K Annamalai was summoned urgently to Delhi by party president JP Nadda. The DMK has been watching Annamalai’s yatra with some apprehension as the crowds buzzing around were significant. Old women hugged him, kids brought for show time, women complaining of inflation, gas cylinder prices and tomatoes squelching home budgets. From Gandhi’s Dandi March to Annamalai’s ‘En Mann, En Makkal’, such yatras have unfailingly drawn crowds for that curiosity factor. Any wonder that DMK chortled, “Pada Yatra is now Padi Yatra“(a half yatra in Tamil) as the protagonist had to rush to hear his master’s voice. BJP cadres are offering any number of reasons for the sudden summons from Delhi. Meanwhile, BJP’s alliance partner AIADMK’s Edapaddi K Palaniswami (EPS) has suddenly found his lost self-confidence after Modi gave him spotlight importance in Delhi. This has emboldened him to announce a protest march challenging DMK about the denial of Cauvery waters to save TN delta kuruvai crops. This may put Stalin on the back foot. What if EPS walks away with the kudos and bargaining power? It’s well known that Annamalai has a prickly equation with EPS. Maybe the BJP top brass want him to mend fences with EPS?
SRK anirudh

New Music Sensation From The South, Anirudh Ravichander

Even as Rajini’s Jailer opening song, Kaavaalaa has set the internet and fans on fire, Anirudh Ravichander, the music director is going places in just 11 years. After his notable success in South films, his very first song Vanda Idam he has created for Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan, to be released on September 7 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu is expected to be a rage. The Hindi version of the song is titled “Zinda Banda“, apt for Anirudh whose music is now a rage in Kollywood, Bollywood. His infectious tunes are converted into visual treat videos that titillate and tease the senses. Tamannaah’s Kaavaalaa dance stoked collective frenzy. It helped that Tamanna and her Lust Stories 2 had already broken OTT records. Anirudh known as ‘single haddi’ when he came to films is fast turning into a music director of substance with successive hits. For added measure, this nephew of Rajinikanth is making more news in the industry. Director Shankar who journeyed with AR Rahman for over 20 years has now shifted his loyalty to Anirudh, signed him up for Indian 2.
MKStalin speech

attorneylenin

Stalin Woos 30,000 DMK Cadres With 6000 Kg Mutton Biryani

It was a veritable gastronomic extravaganza where 30,000 DMK cadres gorged on mutton biryani and chicken served up in the training camp in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. Evidently the BJP‘s meticulous training and planning for elections served as the template for Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin’s motivational thunder and lavish hospitality at this election stump. The alchemy of super delicious biryani and powerful oration was meant to galvanise the booth committee overseers of 15 constituencies. Being the birthplace of the party founder Kalaignar, the stump speech was generously peppered with claims and confidence to catch boosters like “naarpadhum namade, naadum namadhe” (40 seats are ours, the land is ours). He did not miss out on hitting out at the AIADMK for a “sell out of our land to the BJP”. Stalin seems to have imbibed a new josh from his self-perceived status as the originator of the Opposition unity, and is doing everything to rabble rouse and rake in the electorate’s trust. TN Minister KN Nehru said “You must all feel proud that our leader is motivating the entire Opposition to unseat the BJP.” Surely the DMK’s omnibus passenger, the Congress could feel challenged. Stalin has inherited his father’s fluency of wrapping up Dravidam in chaste Tamil oratory. The 2024 general election promises no holds barred fight to oust the north Hindi domination of the BJP with a frontal south emotional Dravidam clarion call.
Rajkannu

Legendary Film Producer Who Launched Mega Stars Like Rajini, Kamal, Sridevi Dies A Pauper

A mere 14 people (that too his relatives) participated in the last rites of legendary film producer SA Rajkannu who was celebrated and feted sky high when 16 Vayadinule produced by him in 1977 under the banner Sri Amman Films was a super hit.  Kamal Haasan as the protagonist, chapani (the village idiot) is now Ulaga Nayakan. The late Sridevi as Mayilu (just 14 then) sizzled and skyrocketed to stardom post that film. And who can forget Rajnikanth’s Parattai, the negative role ruffian who confronts Kamal in this Tamil hit directed by Bharathiraja! The late MR Radha’s daughter, Radhika is even today known as Rail Radhika, a throwback to her debut film Kizhakke Pogum Rail. The multi-faceted artist Bhagyaraj was Rajkannu’s hero in Kanniparuvathile. But all these super marquee names of Kollywood forgot this man who gave them their debuts. Rajkannu spent the fag end of his life in a rented house, and died an unsung producer. His close family were hoping that these celebrities would at least turn up to pay their salaams on his final journey.  However, stars were content to tweet their sorrow. Clearly, filmdom and politics celebrate only success and status. Reminds one of Rajesh Khanna immortal dialogue, “Yeh duniya badi kuthi cheez hai. “

TRENDS & VIEWS

Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.